Montana born and thirty years of solar and energy efficient residential design. Look forward to sharing ideas and expanding the knowledge base. I have seen some great threads about materials and construction details.
Most of Montana has the potential to drop below freezing in any month of the year. We had frost in July this year and if you hadn't covered the tomatoes, they were toast. The same day it got up to 75 degrees. We had a 103 degree temperature swing in a 24 hour time period, in January of 1972.
This environment has proven to be hard on active solar thermal systems. Even systems with glycol have frozen and burst..
I design and build sunspaces that utilize the coolth (yes it's a word) at night to stay cool in summer and the low sun angles and snow cover to provide heat during the cold. With some of these sunspaces approaching 30 years old, I have seen very few problems and they are still working as designed.
Even with Glycol or radiator fluid they still freeze? But for passive systems, even they will still freeze right? It's more resistant from freeze, but still susceptible. They are 4" or 3" in diamater, not including the 3/4" manifold. I had many problems with Progressive Tubes freezing because of the seem that they having going through the rizers, but SunEarth doesn't have that seem, they manufacture it differently.
J87513-- I am speaking of a passive solar building and not a passive solar collector. A passive collector has the main components of any active solar fluid or air heating system (flat plate or evacuated tube collectors to absorb sunlight, convert it into heat and transfer it to a heated fluid that moves the heat into a storage unit or to the point of use) BUT does not use pumps or blowers to move that heat. The heated fluid molecules move faster than the cooler molecules and force them to circulate through the collector naturally or without the use of additional energy.
This passive building approach simply uses strategically placed windows and mass storage to allow sunlight into a space, where it is absorbed in the floor or the walls and converted to heat energy. The "greenhouse effect" of the glazing will trap the long wave heat energy in the space and, with proper openings, allow it to be dispersed within the building. Proper insulation, window type and size, shading and ventilation for cooling make up the structure that generates heat for the space to which it is attached.
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